My wife recently had a ten-day stay in the hospital dealing with an attack from a chronic disease. After spending the first full day in the emergency room she wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything until they determined whether surgery was going to be necessary.
Fear and anxiety fill these rooms most of the time. But that night, something unexpected and wonderful happened as I sat by her side. Sometime between four and six in the morning, the nurse filled a small styrofoam cup with some ice chips and a plastic spoon.
Seemingly insignificant yes, but this simple act of kindness did not go unnoticed. At this moment in time, there aren’t many options for gift giving. All my wife really wanted was relief from the excruciating pain and hope that she would start healing soon. Because surgery wasn’t yet out of the question, she wasn’t allowed to have any food or drink. Ice chips, albeit a prelude to water was the only indulgence she could enjoy. This nurse was not only doing the best job at nursing my wife back to health, but she showed compassion and provided a small, humble treat – yes, ice chips in a styrofoam cup, with a plastic spoon.
This was just another example of the impact serving others has by giving from what you have.
What kind of free gifts can you give to build your relationships? Here are a few for your consideration:
1. Make a phone call. Not an email, not a text message but a real live phone conversation just to say hello even when you don’t “need” something from them.
2. Return emailsand voice mail promptly, even if it’s to say “you’re important and even though I don’t have the answer right now, stay tuned as I’m working on it for you”.
3. Go deeper by asking interesting questions and letting them talk about the things that interest them most.
4. Listen. Actively listen and ask follow-up questions to learn more without interjecting your own experiences.
5. Be gracious. Say thank you even if it’s something trivial.
6. Encourage others – leave the cynicism and skepticism for those who are afraid to take risks.
7. Lastly, ask others for feedback regularly. People love to help improve others, so let them. Ask “How am I doing and please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you”.
These seven “free” gifts will help you build strong relationships with clients and colleagues alike.